The Story of the Stone Hardcover – 1 Jul 1988
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The sequel to "Bridge of Birds", this fantasy is set in an eighth-century "China that never was" and tells the story of master Li, a spry ancient sage "with a slight flaw in his character" and his narrator side-kick, the hulking bewildered Number Ten Ox. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The main characters aren't developed any further than they were in the first book. Years may have passed, but they seem to have remained unchanged. They are joined on their journey by two companions Moon Boy and Grief of Dawn. Moon Boy has some strange seductive powers, but is kept under control by Grief of Dawn.
The way the story develops is pretty similar to the first book in the series. A lot of events that happen seem like detours to lengthen the story, rather than being vital to the plot. I then found it hard to discern how certain events did link together, making any plot twists/revelations seem confusing. At the end of the book, Master Li reels off a long explanation of what he thought had happened but it feels like a disappointing way to conclude the book. Bridge of Birds' ending was much more exciting and emotional, but this book seems to fall flat.
Once again Master Li and Number Ten Ox have to lurch around ancient China to solve the mystery. Master Li and Number 10 Ox are wonderful creations: the Holmes and Watson of ancient China. Master Li is extremely old, brilliantly intelligent - and a real reprobate with a dislike for neo-Confucians, a deep love of the wine-pot and a penchant for slitting people's throats when they annoy him. Number 10 Ox is his strong, loyal but none-too-bright factotum with an eye for a pretty girl. Together they solve unsolveable mysteries, usually where myth and the supernatural appear to have intruded into mundane reality. Well, Master Li does - Number 10 Ox usually doesn't understand a thing that's going on...
Expect wit, wisdom, intrigue, general mayhem, a cast of crazy characters - and an absolutely brilliant read. If you're not familiar with Barry Hughart's books, buy them all right now.
Why are you still reading this? Which bit of 'right now' don't you understand? Top right, click 'Add to basket' - so simple that even Number 10 Ox could do it.
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